A healthy body is a flexible body. But with our hectic schedules today, few of us get the time to exercise, much less stretch and maintain our flexibility. As a result, we may face stiffness and discomfort in a number of our muscle groups, including the hamstrings. Located in the upper part of the leg from the hip to the knee, the hamstrings are required in all daily activities, including walking and running. It becomes easy to see why an issue in these muscles can be very problematic for us overall.
Practising yogic asanas is a great way to ensure that the strength and flexibility of your hamstrings are maintained, while also providing you with numerous other mind and body benefits. Here are some asanas you can try –
- Baddha Koasana (Bound Ankle Pose) – This asana stretches the inner thighs, groins and the knees, thus targeting the hamstring muscles that do the most work. Alongside, it provides added benefits such as relief from fatigue and menstrual discomfort and improved blood circulation.
- Paschimottasana (Seated Forward Pose) – You might feel this asana as soon as you assume the position, given the potency of the stretch it provides. Regular practice would greatly increase the flexibility of your hamstrings, and you will be able to chart your progress with how much you are able to bend without bending your knees.
- Anantasana (Side Leg Lift) – If working both your stiff hamstrings at one feels too much, this asana is ideal for you, as it works each leg in turn. Alongside flexibility, this asana also strengthens the hamstrings, and provides balance workout for the whole body.
- Uttasana (Forward Bending Pose) – A simple yet incredibly effective asana for stretching, this asana works all the muscles from the hips to the calves, while also giving the spine some good workout. Like paschimottasana, this asana may also require time and practice before you are able to do it fully, but all effort put in would only increase the flexibility and strength of your hamstrings.
- Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Bend) – This asana helps stretch your hamstrings while also working out your balance. You may initially need support for your posture or you may need to place your hands on the ground, but with practice you will be able to keep your hands up and behind your back, giving your shoulder a great workout too.
- Dandasana (Staff Pose) – A deceptively simple asana, the dandasana’s trick lies in assuming the correct posture and maintaining it, which stretches out the hamstrings while also helping the spine relax by being in an upright, correct posture. It is a great beginner’s hamstring stretch for those who have just started or restarted yoga
- Janu Sirasana (Head to Knee Pose) – Another single-leg workout, asana gives the hips, hamstrings and the back a great workout and stretch. Like other asanas mentioned here, you might need some time and practice before you are able to assume the pose completely, but the practice would again only enhance your hamstring flexibility.
- Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana) – An excellent posture to stretch hamstrings and releasing compression from hamstrings, calves. It also helps in soothing lower back pain (especially if you have piriformis syndrome). Can be a good posture to remove imbalance between left and right side, especially due to asymmetrical nature of the posture.
With the use of band (beginners)
After a few sessions you could do it without the band
All of these asanas are a great way to improve your hamstring flexibility, but remember that you will need time and effort for results to show – asanas are only tools, and it is up to you to use them properly and regularly for your fitness.